Matthew continues with the theme of authority.
A gentile centurion comes to Jesus. He shows great humility—sort of a role reversal—and great faith in Jesus. The servant of concern to the centurion is healed at a distance. I think healing at a distance is something of an anomaly. Most of the miracle stories in the gospels involve the touch of Jesus.
Jesus marvels at the faith of the centurion. Matthew doesn’t paint an emotional Jesus, but here you see a bit of emotion. Jesus says he rarely sees such faith, even in Israel, where one should expect more of it.
Jesus talks about how gentiles will have a place in the gathering of the kingdom. Some of the natural heirs of the kingdom will find themselves left out, much to their surprise and discomfort. That’s a spot of good news for people like me who are not Jewish. Also, it’s quite humbling.
Jesus has authority to teach, to heal lepers, and even to heal based on the faith of a gentile and at a distance. More to come.